I'd like to celebrate Paule Velarde's (Albuquerque NM) decision to keep his Model T ! Congratulations Paul, you are in good company !!
In response to the thread he started when deciding whether or not to sell his T, there were many great responses offering suggestions for how to proceed, and what to consider in regard to mechanical soundness and safety.
What I'd like to hear from members is their "strategies" for enjoying their Model Ts. I think it would help me, too, as I only "returned to the fold" a month ago, and there are some considerations that give me pause . . . I'll explain. Not many years ago, I lived in a Model T paradise. I could drive anywhere without "worrying" about traffic or its speed. In recent years, the local population has trebled; where I used to enjoy miles of dirt or gravel roads (horseback too) they're all paved, and the "sensibilities" (or lack thereof) of drivers is more worrisome. Folks blast down the paved county roads at 60 or more - there are more accidents, and it seems there's a general lack of skill and attention in a fair number of drivers.
So, I've begun my first new attempts at driving "Liz" by carefully choosing my routes, and considering what a bad idea it might be to stall in a crowded four-lane intersection at a busy time of day !!
How do you all "use" your favorite automobile ?
All the time, take it out as often as possible, mostly 2 lane roads, but sometimes I can't get there from here without venturing onto busier streets. For the most part other Drivers will give your "T" the respect it deserves just watch for the ones that will tell "I can drive better while texting". What was that Honey you need some lettuce and bacon...be right back
For me unfortunately, since moving to a new location that has paved streets, I no longer have the quiet dirt roads to drive on.
When I first got my 26 Touring, I drove for miles on end in the high desert that I called home for over 35 years. You could drive all day and never had to get on a paved road. When I occasionally had to get on a paved two lane, I just used extra caution. The nice thing about the flat dirt roads were that I could put the car in ruckstell low with the peddle out in Ford high and drive at 15 mph at low rpm all day.
Now I live in the mountains. Nearly all of the roads are narrow two lane paved and the people in modern cars drive too fast and tailgate.
Unfortunately, I find this new area dangerous to drive the T since most people don't realize that I have no stopping capability and can not accelerate like a modern car.
When I get my T up and running again, I am going to look into adding Rocky Mountain Brakes. Doing so, might get me out more often as in the past.
One of the things that make me a very lucky guy is living where I enjoy the luxury of good Model T roads. That means a lot of graded dirt and gravel rural roads with little traffic. One of my favorite summer activities is an after-dinner Model T cruise in the country. But I also often go to town in a T. The main drag in Arkansas City, Summit Street, is four lanes and often has just as much traffic as a similar street would have in a major city. Fortunately, most of it has a speed limit of 30 mph, which rises to 35 mph and 45 mph near the edge of town. I've had no problems driving in that traffic, but even when everybody is behaving well more cars mean more risk. So I sometimes will take a parallel street with less traffic. There are some roads with speed limits of 65 mph and 70 mph, but almost everywhere I'm able to avoid them.
But what about folks who live in cities? Even there, a lot of T guys drive their cars by being careful about where and when they do it. I know there are places where all the roads are unfriendly to slow traffic, but I think in most places there are other choices.
I drive my T's anywhere within the city limits that I have the time to do. For example Tom Miller was in town recently, I drove from my house into downtown Dallas during rush hour to pick him up. There are back streets that make up most of the route, but in downtown proper the streets are one way and traffic crawls along due to congestion at that time. I give the cars in front lots of room, and practice my parade wave a lot.
This Sunday our local club has its Christmas party. It starts after dark and ends after dark. I have halogen headlights on the '10, hopefully the valves will get here in time! Otherwise I will take the '14 and install the bulbs / reflectors.
Get out there and drive!
George drove his touring at night from West L.A. to the Valley with no problems. You just stay off the freeways and use the slower streets.
I built mine to keep up with traffic. I like to stay on the old scenic highways if I can, or on side streets in town....but I can get out on the interstate and really move..
Heavy traffic is a double-edged sward. You can't go very fast, but neither can they because of all the other modern cars ahead. In heavy traffic, you mostly have to be careful for the cars ahead, because you don't have the braking ability. But traffic behind doesn't bother you much, because they are stuck in the same slow line that you are.
On a lot of country roads, your biggest danger is the idiot flying up behind you not looking at all where he is going. I watch the rear view closely when I drive, and often pull out of the way safe when someone is coming fast.
It is not always in your control. But try to keep an eye on your "outs". Parking lot driveways, road shoulders, even fire and bus lanes (or a farmer's field). Any place you could swerve into to get out of the way quickly.
Keep your braking systems (whatever type you have) and steering properly adjusted. And PRACTICE braking a few times. Get the feel for grabbing that handle and what it does in case you need it in a future emergency. Do not keep the rear brakes like the original cast iron on steel drums. The coefficient of friction stinks, they wear fast, and are NOT reliable! Early style small drum lined cast iron shoes in small steel drums may not be perfect. However, properly adjusted, they do work well, and are fairly easy to maintain. With just a few practice tries, they should serve you well in a need.
And again, watch out for the idiots!
Drive carefully, and do enjoy! W2
Wayne's last line is spot on: "And again, watch out for the idiots!". The unfortunate truth of the matter is, this applies to driving your modern car as well.
I always wonder how vulnerable the Amish feel. If they are willing to use the public roads as they are, I will drive my T's. I have a SMV sign on all my T's. Makes me feel better and I always try to let the traffic get around me by pulling over if needed.
I feel like I am being pushed in my model A s on the main two lanes in my area. The back roads are paved and their are some 25-30 mph roads that all lead to 4 lanes so I stick with back roads everywhere I go in my T s. Sometimes I never leave my subdivision if traffic is bad! Tim
There are quite a few ways to enjoy the Model T experience. Naturally the driving and tinkering make up a big part of it, but I also get a lot of enjoyment collecting items that were made for the T like various makes of Spark plugs,T tools and accessories...... I'm even looking for a period (mid 20s) flashlight so to be part of my tool kit.
I am in So Cal with tons of traffic, I picked side roads best I can and stay off the main drags. Also drive through residential areas, slow - but lot less traffic and when I do git in traffic. I try to pick roads with a slow lane, so at least there is a passing lane - if at all possible
I used to live in a place I'd call "old car hell". It rained 600 days a year
and was a training ground for stunt drivers. I did 30 years there before I
had an epiphany. One day I woke up to the fact that no one was holding
a gun to my head and forcing me to live there, and I left. My sanity and life
pleasures were going to take priority over comfortable familiarity and any
job I thought was so important. It was the best decision I ever made.
Funny, but I found new ways to pay the bills, and I can enjoy 300 days
of outdoor living a year instead of 30. Model T roads abound, and life is
good. It is all about priorities.
I don't know, traffic doesn't bother me that much, only once did some bozo cut me off and I had to go to full emergency, pulling the brake lever, locked up the rocky's and still ran up on the sidewalk (stalled the engine too). That happened when George Clipner and I drove our cars to Manhattan Beach CA down PCH1...there isn't a more crowded street to drive on than PCH1 on a Saturday through the beach towns, but it was the most direct route we could take to get to a memorial service for a member of the LBMTC.
George always turns on his headlights when driving around town, me I never bother...his car has 12 volt headlights and mine are 6 volt, but his car is sort of satin finish too whereas mine is very shiny...my car isn't perfect, but it is very shiny and that gets it noticed more than my puny 6 volt headlights and 3CP tail lights would.
The point is, I've never worried overmuch about traffic and city streets, they notice me and usually stay clear or they whip out their bloody cellphones and snap a shot or two...even had one fool try and do a selfie from his car...cellphones, I'll be glad when that fad fades away.
I've driven all over the Santa Clarita Valley and the San Fernando Valley and clear out to Flintridge down Foothill to my favorite candy store..."See's", for their sugar free chocolate bar.
The fact is I rarely drive modern cars (I have one of course, but I never drive it), so if you happen to see some guy (sporting a boater in the summer and a News Boys cap in the winter) someplace out and about and by himself...there's a better than even chance it's me and I'm driving the T. My dream however is to one of these days after I get her back together again, to point her nose East and see how far she'll go...
Paule Velarde, back in the early nineties my daughter Nancy was a nurse at the UNM children's hospital in Albuquerque, and we always went out to visit her each year. I loved seeing my daughter and traveling all around New Mexico, but the traffic was getting worst each time we when out there (she now lives in Tucson). So I know what you are trying to deal with. Glad you decided to keep your T and best of luck finding places to drive it. Albuquerque has a great Model T club, I would suggest if your not already a member to join them and they will help you find times and places to drive your T.
The best place for me is in the development I live in. It's also the only place I can go over the posted speed limit of 25 MPH.
I pick my routes carefully but try to travel almost anywhere in my suburban city during daylight hours. I've added brake lights (model A "STOP") and am adding disk brakes this winter during down time. I love my '23 Touring more than should be considered normal but to me safety trumps authenticity--up to a point. I absolutely will NOT install turn signals. I am a "hand signal" devotee in keeping with my love for these automobiles. To my horror though, it's my understanding hand signals are no longer taught in driver's education classes. Of this situation I am petrified. I have no control over the 17 year old kid with the ball cap on backwards, at the wheel of his dad's red 500HP mustang, doing 60 in a 35mph zone. He, being clueless over why the codger driving that old car in the way is sticking his arm out the window.
I travel pretty much anywhere I want, there are a couple of highways I may only drive a mile or two and then turn off of. In my weak mind, driving in "heavy traffic" sometimes is probably better than out in the open. Usually is at a crawl. Out on the open highway, the FIRST thing we have to worry about is all the idiots texting. It's actually worse out in the country 'cause the morons think there's not enough traffic to worry about. I'm even seeing people in their 50s+ with their heads down staring in their lap doing 60 mph, so far they've all been on the right edge of the road.
The things that make life worth living, to one degree or another, involve risk. -People told me that skydiving was safe, but I never bought into the concept of bailing out of a perfectly good airplane that wasnít burning. -Though Iím unshakable in my belief that skydiving isnít safe, Iím also of a firm suspicion that the thrill which accompanies the experience is at least comparable to the last part of a third consecutive date with a Victoriaís Secret model.
Though never having taken to a parachute, I was a pilot for a lot of years and bought into the myth that flying small propeller-driven airplanes was perfectly safe. -But over those years, five of my friends lost their lives in the cockpit, so I now know thatís a crock (and with bare hands and fire in my eyes, Iíll strangle the next moron who tells me, ďWell, at least he died doing what he loved to doĒ).
But along with the risks came rewards. -Iíve barrel-rolled and looped among the clouds, flew in a P-47 Thunderbolt, did wingovers and wifferdills in an AT-6, watched the ocean turn to gold in the sunset and experienced airborne wonders and freedoms I can scarcely describe. -I managed the risks with a very conservative attitude and survived the experience with not one moment of regret.
Now, driving a brass-era car in modern traffic isnít the safest possible endeavor in which to be engaged, but as with other things, there are acceptable methods of managing the risk involved (and situational awareness tops that list). -Sitting on ten-gallons of gasoline in a Model T canít be all that much worse than nestling the family jewels up against the fuel tank of a Harley-Davidson. -Hey, people get away with it every day. -You can decide to grab the bull by the horns and turn your life into a thrill-ride, or you can play it completely safe and sink into a clinical depression. -Or, you can take the middle ground and season some reasonable risks with a dash of intelligence. -If you never do reach for the brass ring, someday when you approach the finish line, youíre going to feel significant regrets.
Teddy Roosevelt was one of those guys who took great big bites out of life and lived it to the fullest. -He once said, ďFar better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.Ē
Just get out and drive! People have accidents in modern cars too.
Yeah but they usually walk away.
I drive my car all the time in today's traffic and Puyallup, WA is extremely congested. I find that the Model T can keep up with city traffic and handles just fine, as long as I don't get stopped on extremely steep hills. Half of Puyallup sits in a valley and the other half, called the "South Hill,' is obviously the higher area. I work in Fife, just north of the valley and the freeway runs through the middle of Puyallup. I pick and choose which hills I go down and up because some are easier to manage with a shallower grade and less lights.
Three things that I put on my car after I bought it to adapt it more readily to today's traffic:
1) Side Mirrors
2) Turn Signals and Brake Lights
3) Rocky Mountain Brakes
The car already had a Ruckstell, which is a necessity where I live. I still take my time when approaching an intersection; however, the Rockies help immensely. Since it rains a lot on the west side of the state, I also made sure that my wiper was working. That's my two bits.
Burger, Where did you live that had 600 rainy days a year? I need to move there because I need 600 rainy days a year to get all my projects done.
Burger has 57 toes and 58 fingers so his numbers are a bit large.
You should see his bank account!
Bob, Larry, you're right! So today, since it was a toasty 58 degrees and a little sun, decided this was no doubt time for the truly last drive of the season, using the '20. Mainly 'cause next week the two front wheels are going to Stutzmans anyway. But I decided what the heck..after leaving a friends house (wasn't home) decided to work my way back to my place via a fairly busy commercial corridor with a mall, eons of little "strip malls", and bo-kew restaurants. No problemo! Everyone gave me lots of space, and even more smiles. Great day. Can't wait for March.
Tim, that's a mighty handsome view over the hood of your '20 !
Yep, that's exactly what I see through my windshield too...lots of room all round me. But from the look of those clouds...you might want a top to keep the weather off.
And forget hand signals...folks today don't know what the hell you're doing (even though as far as I know it's still on the test here in Califunny) and usually just wave back at you, or whip out their cellphones and wave back at you at the same time...turn signals are the only way to go and it doesn't hurt to have a couple of accessory tail/brake (or as in my case) tail/signal lights hanging from your top saddle arms either.
Anywhere from southern coastal Alaska to southern coastal Oregon
(and beyond) will give you all the rainy days you want to develop suicidal
depression. There is a reason Grays Harbor County holds the title of
America's suicide capitol. Nothing beats a heavy grey sky, dumping a
ceaseless drizzle of 38ļ rain all year 'round. Moss, mold, and slime grow
on unwashed cars, your house, your driveway. It is wonderful. I was
just back in Portland over the holiday and reminded of why I left. The
green can be pretty when the sun does come out, but the heavy payment
just ain't worth it to this outdoor-oriented fool. I get more done in places
where it isn't cold and perpetually wet. I can actually drive my T, and I
am not even taking into consideration what traffic is like over there. Talk
about kamikaze risk factors !
I haven't driven mine yet. I've got bit of work to do. I have mad a trip or two out to the garage to look at it though.
Burger, I'm with ya there! I hate cloudy damp weather, and here we get nothin but that from Nov. thruough March pretty much. Altho this November was exceptional, I didn't keep track, but can honestly say we probably saw mostly sunny days at least 18 out of the 30. Normally we only see five.
Martin..I was getting a little nervous for sure, it started out sunny when I left the house, and typical to Ohio..45 minutes later here's the clouds. And typical to Ohio, an hour after I got home, bright sunshine again! Gotta love this God-forsaken state!! Ha ha. But it beats what Burger described!
Burger, You talked me out of moving there. I will just stay here in Minnesota and enjoy the 300 days a year we have below zero. Thanks for straightening me out.